It’s hard to think that LeBron James has now been to the NBA Finals in six straight seasons. For as much as he has accomplished throughout his career, the one thing that is missing from his resume is a championship for his hometown team.
With the 2016 NBA Finals here, we have two top teams on the court. So who ranks at the top in our NBA Finals odds?
Cleveland and the Elusive Ring
The argument could be made that his Cleveland Cavaliers have a better shot than ever before to capture that elusive ring even though they’re significant underdogs in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors’ odds.
While the Cavaliers had to work a little harder against the Raptors than they probably would have liked to, it’s really tough to argue with much of anything they’ve done in these playoffs.
They’re knocking down more than 14 threes per game and shooting better than 43 percent from beyond the arc, and that’s why they’ve ultimately only lost twice in the first three rounds of the second season.
What’s Different in This Year’s NBA Finals?
What really makes Cleveland more dangerous this year than a season ago against Golden State is that the whole band is revved up and ready to go. In 2015, it was James against the rest of the world in a fantastic, one-man solo act.
We could’ve argued for LeBron being the MVP of the Finals, even though the Cavs only won two of the six games. He literally willed them to wins in two of the first three games of the series before ultimately, the depth of the Dubs proved to be too much.
This year, though? The script is completely different. James is only averaging 0.2 points per game more than Kyrie Irving in the playoffs, and though Kevin Love has had some moments in which he’s been MIA, he’s still playing relatively good basketball.
What makes these guys so dangerous isn’t the fact that they’re on the floor, though. It’s that there has to be so much more attention paid to Irving and Love to the point that it should open up a ton of shots for someone eventually.
Thus far in the playoffs, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye, Matthew Dellavedova and Richard Jefferson have all taken turns knocking down huge threes, many of which are flat out wide open. For as great as Golden State is, it hasn’t faced a team that can give it a taste of its own medicine like the Cavaliers can.
Remember Oklahoma City?
However, Cleveland isn’t going to be nearly as physical as the Thunder were in the last round either. What got Golden State into trouble was the fact that Oklahoma City was doing what it could to make sure it got the easiest shots possible, whereas the Dubs were forced to shoot a ton of outside shots. It’s generally not a good idea to dare Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry to shoot threes, but the fact that OKC took away any semblance of any inside game is what pushed the 73-win Warriors to the brink of elimination.
Golden State has been the NBA champions odds-on favorite for the better part of the last five months. Even when it was down 3-1 to Oklahoma City, Golden State was still never greater than +240 to win the whole enchilada.
The Warriors opened up Game 1 as 5.5-point favorites alongside a total of 210 in the latest NBA betting odds.
NBA Finals Odds To Win
Cleveland Cavaliers +190
Golden State Warriors -230
(Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu)
The Cavaliers and Warriors will kick off the 2016 NBA Finals on Thursday, June 2. Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 will be played at Oracle Arena in Oakland, while Games 3, 4 and 6 will be featured at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. All seven games of NBA Finals television coverage can be found on ABC.
For regular NBA news and odds, check out our basketball betting section.